Japan starts home delivery service trials using drones

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Tokyo, April 11 (IANS) The Japanese government on Monday began the trial of a drone home delivery service in the city of Chiba, supposedly the first of its kind in an urban area.

The drones ferried merchandise, including bottles of wine and milk cartons between several points in the city where the country’s law restricting the use of drones does not apply, EFE news reported citing Kyodo agency.

They successfully landed in parks, commercial facilities and even on the roof of a residential building without any damage to the goods.

In the next stage, the drones will transport packages from Tokyo Bay to Chiba, a distance of 10 km, with the aim of developing technology to ensure stable flight during rain and strong winds, and to set up a traffic control system for drones.

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Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, tech firm NEC and Aeon supermarket chain, among other companies, are counting on the service to become operational in 2020 when Tokyo will host the Olympic Games.

The government also seeks to implement a system to deliver medicines to isolated areas by 2018, for which it will need to approve a new law to regulate the routes and merchandise permitted for transport planes or drones.

Japan did not have specific laws regarding drones till September last year when a drone with radioactive material was found on the roof of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s house.

The current Civil Aeronautics Law bans drones from flying over crowded residential areas or around airports without government permission.

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